Visual and Performing Arts Center at Western Connecticut State University

Danbury, CT

The School of Visual and Performing Arts has been transformed to better support students, faculty, and the community. Jaffe Holden collaborated with the full design team in addition to department chairs in art, music, and theater disciplines so the new facility would meet the needs of all end-users. The center includes a theater, concert hall, recording studio, classrooms, and rehearsal space.

The new 350-seat concert hall has clear and resonant acoustics. Stage walls are shaped to blend sound and provide early reflections that aid musicians with onstage hearing. The ceiling slope and wood materials were carefully selected to best project and diffuse sound. Our team designed motor-operated computer-controlled adjustable banners that can be deployed during amplified performance to absorb sound and cut off volume to reduce the room’s resonance. All of the studios and practice rooms have been designed with acoustic isolation construction methods to ensure the proper amount of sound isolation between rooms. The mechanical systems have been designed to achieve the appropriate background sound level. Rehearsal rooms have adjustable wall panels so that the room can be tuned to the correct acoustic for the group rehearsing.

The theater features an industry-standard theatrical sound system that prepares students for careers in live theater. Computer-based multi-track playback, digital mixing, and multi-channel speaker systems are core components of the system. The audio/video system in the concert hall uses video projection and sound reinforcement for performances on stage. The recording studio suite is equipped with the latest in analog and digital technologies and can record live performances in both spaces, as well as mix them down into stereo or surround formats. Our team designed direct tielines between the live room, the isolation room, and the control rooms. The robust audio/video system allows precise control for programming that ranges from an ensemble to a full orchestral performance. Motorized microphones in the concert hall can be controlled remotely from the recording studio suite. Our firm provided acoustic and audio/video systems design services specifically for students to experience a professional-quality arts education.

Project Information

130,000 SF
350-seat Concert Hall
350-seat Proscenium Theater
Rehearsal Rooms
Teaching Studios
Practice Rooms
Recording Studio
Art Studios

Design Team

Architects: Holzman Moss Botino Architecture
Architect of Record: Amenta/Emma Architects
Theater Consultants: Fisher Dachs Associates

Scope of Work

Architectural Acoustics
Sound Isolation
Mechanical System Noise Control
Audio/Video System Design


Connecticut Department of Construction Services

Completion Date



$97.5 Million